Eight straight for DDSS
The Delhi Dynasty continues. With wins in the homecraft, team tug of war and cheerleading competitions, the Delhi Raiders were crowned Young Canada Day Grand Champions for the eighth year in a row to open the 177th Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show Tuesday morning, Oct. 3.
The Raiders got a run for their money courtesy of Holy Trinity and Valley Heights, but ultimately extended their streak, which reaches all the way back to 2010.
While the DDSS celebration seems to get bigger each year, Raiders cheer team co-captain Calissa Nowe’s face wasn’t so much emitting joy but both tears and relief.
Each year the streak continues also ratchets up the pressure to carry it on.
“This is all the hard practices, all the cheers, all the decorations – all year we’ve been preparing to come back and do it again ... It means everything,” said Nowe following her fourth and final Young Canada Day.
“The whole school comes together, the whole school is so excited about this every year and eight years in a row, we did it again.”
Almost immediately after the Raiders cheer squad was announced as winners before a packed Lloyd S. Culver Grandstand, Nowe jogged outside the frenzy to share a hug with her mother Stacy, a member of the team’s coaching staff.
“To spend this whole year with her and improve, to finally have it and experience the win together, it’s unreal,” she said. “It’s amazing.”
Tug of War
The Raiders didn’t have a title in their pocket until coach Robin Sallewsky’s girls tug of war squad beat Holy Trinity in the finals to give their school some muchneeded points.
“It’s so exciting for them,” said Sallewsky.
“The girls are awesome, we’ve worked on the technique, they come out to practice and they’re so hardworking and dedicated, just like all the kids at Delhi.”
On the boys side, the Valley Heights Bears – unbeaten in the round robin – were down to their last breath after losing the first pull of a best two-of-three final to Holy Trinity in a whopping 1:43 tug. The Bears would come off the mat to win two in a row and send their entire student body and staff into a hysteria. No one was happier than Peter Klassen, who leaped into the arms of his teammates after the third and final pull. He even hugged VHSS vice principal Jim Merrick.
“I was overwhelmed,” he said. “I’ve never been a part of this before where we’ve got No. 1 and it was just a great moment.”
Klassen said his team used the hectic surroundings to rise to the occasion.
“We got some motivation from our coach, the crowd and we wanted to win for the school because it’s been a while,” he added. “We just wanted to bring the win back to Valley.”
Just like her teammate Hope Biro did back in 2015, Fiona Joynes announced her arrival to the Norfolk high school scene in a big way. The Grade 9 speedster won the girls road race in what appeared to be easy fashion. After the first of two laps around the track, Joynes was among a handful of racers near the front of the pack but quickly took the lead and never looked back despite admitting to some nerves.
“I was happy,” Joynes said. “I know a lot of the girls because I’ve done this for a really long time, but it just felt so good.”
Also finishing in the Top 5 was Biro, who had nothing but praise for her young teammate.
“I understand how it feels because I took the title when I was in Grade 9,” she said. “It’s her turn to be champ now and I’m just really happy for her. She trains really hard, she keeps up with me and she’s beat me at cross country practice - she’s great.”
The boys race saw one of the closest and most exciting finishes in recent memory. Carter Jacobs of Valley Heights looked to have things well in hand down the stretch, that was until Simcoe’s Brody McKnight made a mad dash in the final 200m. The two were neck and neck going into the last few steps, that’s when Jacobs edged ahead by a nose. He was greeted at the finish line by the VHSS boys tug of war team, who kept him upright after emptying the tank.
“I could see everybody else cheering so I was like ‘ holy crap, he’s coming’,” Jacobs said of the final moments of the race.
“( Winning) was awesome, and it sucks because I can’t breathe.”
Being named victorious at Young Canada Day has almost become second nature to the Raiders, but the shine of the crown never wears off, Sallewsky said.
“Never, how could it ever get old?” she asked. “I’ve been a Raider for many years and it never gets old and every year (the students are) more excited than the year before.”
Delhi Raiders had plenty to cheer about during Young Canada Day at the Norfolk County Fair Oct. 3. DDSS won its eighth consecutive overall secondary school title last week. Among those rocking the grandstand were Alyssa Long, left, and Natalia Innes.